5/6/2011 – The proposed regulations for the medical cannabis program in New Jersey violate the true intent of the Compassionate Use law. Assemblywoman Linda Stender has filed ACR 188, the final resolution that could invalidate them completely. The Senate and Assembly have already voted against the harsh regulations that removed provisions for home delivery, limited THC potency to 10 percent and created a controversial doctor registry for marijuana.
ACR 188/ ACR 151 states:
“A Concurrent Resolution prohibiting the adoption of certain Department of Health and Senior Services rules implementing the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.”
They rules were put forth by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and have been vocally defended by Governor Chris Christie. The seriously ill patients who the law is meant to serve have done nothing but criticize the regulations in a series of public hearings.
But The Legislature is keeping up the fight for patients by using rare procedure to throw out the rules. It has three steps: 1) A concurrent resolution is passed (complete 1/20/2011) 2) A special public hearing is held to gather guidance testimony (complete 2/3/2011) and 3) Based on such testimony a final concurrent resolution must be passed (now filed as SCR 151/ ACR 188).
This form of resolution does not require the signature of the Governor. In fact it communicates that Governor Christie would have 30 days to amend to rules. If the Executive does not change the regulations to the approval of the Legislature they will be officially invalided in whole or in part.
Advocates and the sponsoring politicians are eager to make changes. The six Alternative Treatment Centers recently approved by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) can not open until final regulations are adopted. The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was supposed to have been fully running in the summer of 2010 but has seen a series of delays.
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Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. He volunteers with local groups to change prohibition laws including PhillyNORML and The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.